Papercraft | How-to & why

Papercraft: tools of trade

Because of my unemployed status i’ve got a shitload of free time to deal with.
So there is a little post about my lifelong hobby for your entertainment

Warning: по неизвестным причинам, я написал этот пост на английском, и потом две недели пытался перевести на родной русский с сохранением интонаций.
Please forgive me ‘cos i’ve failed.

1. Why?

  • it takes time.
  • it requires patience, precision, skill, imagination, spatial reasoning.
  • it gives tangible results you can show off

2. Tools of trade.

Printing models

Paper of various sizes and types. White and colored paper. Cardstock. Cardboard. Normal “office paper”. There’s never too much paper.
Inkjet Printer.
I’ve read some recommendations to get one with separate cartridges for different colors,  but it’s up to you. I own a simple Canon PIXMA all-in-one.


Papercraft: tools for cutting

Sharp “hobby” knife
My main cutting tool – good for strait lines and little details. Blades can be replaced or sharpened.
Find the one that’s comfortable to you.
Sharp scissors
I rarely use them this days – mine are dreadfull. I’m searching for my perfect pair now.
Cutting mat
Green self-healing mats are avaiable in different sizes from various brands. I got a big one from Bantex.


Papercraft: tools for scoring

variety of things that can be used as scoring tools are astonishing:

  • knitting and sewing needles
  • empty ballpoint pens
  • dull blade
  • your own fingernails…


Universal recommendation is using PVA (white) glue,  but i had some trouble finding glue that will not cause discoloring of printed parts…
My ideal glue and various rejected alternatives are pictured below.
I use almost exclusively glue for decoupage by Decola – it dries clear and it dries FAST

Papercraft: glue

Applying glue

This is the most valuable advice anyone can give you in case of papercraft:
Use common household toothpicks to apply glue!
I can’t stress this point less – USE THEM!
Neat results, can be used to apply glue to the most small details, and they are disposable!
No more cleaning!
Sometimes is an inevitable evil. Clear them right away ;)

Papercraft: toothpicks
Papercraft: brushes


Papercraft: rulers

Several in different sizes. Get one made from clear plastic – it will prove itself useful when scoring folds.

Additional tools

Pliers \ tweezers
Useful for handling small details: holding, folding, glueing.
Markers \ paint
For colouring the cut edges of the paper so they don’t show
Various round objects
For curling parts.
Scotch tape
Good for reinforcing parts from inside
Good for reinforcing parts from inside


PDF viewer of your choice
I use Foxit Reader as an alternative to bloated Adobe creation
Pepakura Viewer
Viewer for .pdo files – provides both template and instructions in one file!
On the left – 3D model of finished product, on the left pages with details and tips what goes where.

Pepakura viewer

3. Where to start?

start with smth simple: cubecraft models, various papertoys (some of them are even glueless!)
  • instant gratification!
  • thousands of models based on popular culture characters!
  • and this step will teach you some basics about handling paper, folding, assembling basic geometric types (cones, spheres, cubes etc)
  • none
move to more advanced models – search for  professionaly designed models with clear instructions.
it’s time to try Canon Creative Park.
  • various models: cars, planes, architecture, animals..
  • each model comes with easy to understand instructions, that guarantee a satisfying result.
  • following their instructions will teach you how to assemble more complex models: which flaps to glue first?
    in what order assemble parts?
  • none
now you can attempt some serious, complex models.
try assembling model which comes in .pdo format – it’s used by many amateur papercraft designers.
amateurs have no limits in their models themes: movie, anime and games characters;
complex, detailed models of spacecraft – you name it, there’s a papercraft for it.

p.s. of course you can IGNORE those recommendations – my first model was Serenity space ship %)

4. Resources

Glueless cubee models of various cartoon\movie\game\comix characters
Canon Creative Park
Canon papercraft paradise – professional models with great instructions
Yamaha Papercraft
Professional models with instructions: animals, bikes (some of this bikes will take your breath away), Papercraft Paradise
Blogs with daily updates on released models. check out their links sections for more papercraft resources
4chan /po/
Papercraft and Origami image board. Usual warnings apply %)

5. My collection

Papercraft collection
Papercraft collection bonus

6. Current work in progress

Swordfish II from Cowboy Bebop.
As of now – almost done, measures 50cm x 60cm
Papercraft - current

7. Key point

Papercraft: demotivation

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About kuzzzma

Artist, photographer, papercraft designer, doll and action figures collector, traveller. Speaking Russian and English.

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